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On the 32th? of F&ruaty, 1828. , 

By the Hon. GEORGE M. BIBB. 





Louisville, February 23rd, 1838. 
Hon. Geo. M. Bibb: 

Dear Sir— Having, in conformity to the request of the 
President and Board of Managers of the Louisville Medical 
Institute, delivered an Oration upon the close of the ceremony 
of laying the corner-stone of the edifice destined for the In- 
stitute, allow me in the same character, in which I solicited 
that service, to return you my own, arid the thanks of the 
Board, for the very able and appropriate discourse, which you 
delivered upon that occasion, and to solicit a copy for publica- 
tion. We are aware of the additional trouble, which by this 
request, we are about to superadd to that which you have 
already exerted so gratifyingly to the Board and your very 
numerous auditors, and so creditably to yourself; but we trust, 
that the spirit of kindness, and of patriotism, which animated 
you in the composition and delivery of the discourse, will in- 
duce you to incur the trouble of furnishing the copy, now so- 
licited for publication. 

Very respectfully, your obd't. serv't., 

PresH. of the Board of Managers of the Louisville Med. In. 

Hon. Geo. M. Bibb. 

Louisville Medical Institute, ) 
February 23rd, 1838. \ 

Chancellor Bibb: 

Dear Sir — At a meeting of the Medical Faculty, this 
evening, the following resolution was adopted: 

Resolved, That the thanks of the Faculty be presented to 
Chancellor Bibb, for his eloquent, appropriate and impressive 
Oration, commemorative of laying the corner-stone of the 
college edifice of the Louisville Medical Institute, and that a 
copy be requested for publication. 

In communicating this resolution of the Faculty permit me 
to add my individual sense of the excellence of your oration, 

/6Q56 *. 

and expressions of regard and consideration with which I 
"have the honor to be, very respectfully, your ob't. serv't., 
L. P. YANDELL, M. D., Dean, fyc. 

Louisville, February, 26th, 1838. 
To the PresH,, Trustees, and Gentlemen of the Faculty 

of the Louisville Medical Institute: 

The thanks which you have been pleased to signify by your 
resolutions of the 23rd inst., communicated in terms also so 
very kind by two of your body, are received with great sen- 
sibility. The encomiums bestowed on the address, are strong 
evidences of your kind feelings for me. Whatever of merit 
may be found in the address grows out of the richness of the 
subject and the occasion, rather than out of any embellish- 
ment from me. Seeing the importance of the Medical Insti- 
tute, and its connexion with literature, philanthropy, the sub- 
stantial interests and the character of this city, I have labored 
with my utmost thought to present the connexion clearly to 
the understandings of others. 

That those, who could have done more justice to the sub- 
ject, are contented with my efforts, is a pleasing reward of 
my labors. 

Herewith you have a copy of the address as requested. 

Accept for yourselves, one and all, the assurance of my 
high regard. GEO. M. BIBB. 


Mr. President and Trustees of the Medical Institute, 

Mayor and Councilmen of the City, 

and fellow-citizens of Louisville: 

The corporation of Louisville, is a species of government 
within a government, more especially charged with the inter- 
nal police of the city, the well-being of the inhabitants and 

The city has founded and endowed the Louisville Medical 
Institute: and we have this day witnessed the ceremonial of 
laying the corner stone of the edifice. 

Invited by the President, Trustees and Faculty of the In- 
stitute to address you on this occasion, I propose to offer 
some thoughts, 

In the first place, upon the general laws of Nature, the ob- 
servance of which tend to the prosperity, happiness and dura- 
tion of cities as well as States; the neglect of which produce 
misery and destruction: 

Secondly, upon the dangers to which Louisville is especially 
exposed according to those immutable laws of nature: 

Thirdly, upon the safe-guards against those dangers: 

Fourthly, upon this day of celebration: 

Lastly, upon the importance of this Medical Institute, the 
advantages of this location, and the effect of this establish- 
ment upon the destiny of this city. 

By Nature and Nature's God, the self-existing benevolent 
producer of all things, man has been compounded of matter 
and mind, and placed upon this earth, to perform his part in 
the system of the universe. 

He is subjected, by the very nature of his being and com- 
position, to certain general laws of universal obligation, from 
which he cannot escape, nor divest himself: they adhere to 
him individually; they follow him into society; they surround 

and act upon all individuals, communities, nations and poten- 
tates, like the atmosphere which we breathe: they are stamped 
upon the being of man as the immutable laws of his nature 
and happiness. 

Composed of matter man is subjected, in that, to the gen- 
eral laws of matter, to the action of the material elements, to 
wounds, diseases and dissolution. 

Composed of mind he is subjected to certain moral laws re- 
sulting from the nature and the capacities of intellect, and 
the sum of the faculties of mind, with which he is endowed, 
the purposes for which they were bestowed, and the accounta- 
bility therefore to his creator and giver, who is in himself an 
intellectual essence of perfect moral excellence. 

Man was not formed for a mere selfish circumstance; not 
like an individual of the vegetable kingdom, not a monochord; 
but for society, and for benefitting his fellow-men. Like a 
full stringed instrument, he is capable of melody, sympathy, 
harmony, and of discord too; it is the province of mind to ar- 
range the parts, and regulate the movement, to the end that 
concord may be effected. The condition of his existence, his 
wants, his infirmities remind him continually of his depend- 
ence on others, his claims upon them and their claims upon 
him. In childhood he is helpless and in his nurse's arms; in 
manhood bold, adventurous, forming schemes of happiness, of 
love, of friendship, of fortune, and of fame; in old age he is 
again dependent on the good offices of his kindred and 
friends. From his first to his last breath he stands in need of 
the services of his fellow-men. 

Some there are, whose powers are better adapted to bodily 
labor, others to intellectual pursuits; and even there, some are 
better fitted for one department of science and some for 
another. The females formed with delicate beauty and 
grace, adorned with retreating diffidence and bashful mo- 
desty, are not designed by nature for laborious exercises, but 
to act their parts within doors; to grace the fire-side, to con- 
sole, enchant, and render home delectable. 

Manual labor produces subsistence, and the implements, 
fabrics, and materials for interchange and commerce. Intel- 


lectual cultivation tends to increase the sum and variety of 
production, by directing labor right, saving unnecessary toil 
and time, and producing more perfect fabrics. Muscular la- 
bor and mental labor stand in need of mutual aid and co- 
operation. Manual labor, the arts, the sciences, are all con- 
nected by indissoluble ties. The sailor and the helm are 
instruments for navigating the ship; and they must be gov- 
erned by the skill of the pilot for effecting safe navigation. 
So of all other occupations: the laborers and tillers of the 
earth, the artificers, the artists, the cultivators of intellect and 
morals; from the poorest to the richest, from the peasant to 
the chief magistrate, all, all are mutually connected constitu- 
ent parts of one whole or system of society. All are mu- 
tually useful, the one to the other, and co-operating in the 
long series of labors, bodily and mental, by which the order, 
peace, happiness and stability of the community are to be 

It is the province of intellect to trace the sources of these 
dependencies, the moral causes and effects, influences and 
benefits, the nature and extent of those mutual obligations 
upon individuals, families, communities, states, nations and 

By tracing these moral causes and effects, it is demon- 
strated that individual is morally bound to individual, family 
to family, community to community, and nation to nation by 
certain social duties and natural obligations, in the great sys- 
tem of production and exchange, so that their respective pro- 
ducts of body and mind, of nature and art, may be sent 
around the world in exchange for all the luxuries of nature 
and art, and the elegancies of genius and science which the 
world supplies. 

The God of Nature has willed that man should be distin- 
guished from all other animals; and that this characteristic 
distinction should be in superiority of intellect; marked by 
turning his eyes to heaven, by a power of speech not limited 
as in other animals, but capable of communicating his thoughts, 
his moral feelings; of describing his researches and discoveries, 
of embodying the operations of his mind and handing them 
down to posterity. 


Men are made by nature, not only for society but for civil 
and political government also. Without these, man could 
. exist as a savage only, but could never attain that improved 
happier condition to which progressive intellectual cultiva- 
tion is constantly tending. 

This progressive intellectual improvement and happiness, 
depends in a great degree upon the good or ill administration 
of the civil and political government of each particular com- 
munity, State or nation. 

That government is most conducive to those great ends of 
intellectual improvement and increased happiness, when the 
administration, that is to say, the directors and managers of 
the body politic, are practically identified in interest and feel- 
ing, with the great body of the members of the commnnity. 
The government is abused and perverted when the power of 
a majority, oppresses the particular interests of a minority, 
by partial burthens and exactions to benefit the particular in- 
terests of the majority. It is more especially abused and 
wickedly perverted, when the directors and officers of the 
body politic, draw a line of distinction between the govern- 
ment (that is themselves) and the people; make the govern- 
ment one body and the people another, and provide for the 
government to the neglect of the people; thereby producing 
the abomination of a government as an antagonist body to 
the body of the people: the government providing for itself 
(i. e. the rulers) and devouring the substance of the people. 
By such perversion the government, a body politic, created by 
the people for their safety and general welfare, becomes a 
natural body composed of the rulers and office-holders, distinct 
from the people, exalted above their creators, using the peo- 
ple as if they were the property of the rulers. By such per- 
version and breach of trust, those appointed and trusted to be 
the shepherds become the wolves and devourers. Such doings 
belong to the antiquated doctrines, that kings ruled by divine 
right; that the multitude were born to be the hewers of wood 
and drawers of water for their rulers; that a precious noble 
few are born "booted and spurred prepared to ride over the 
multitude by the grace of God." Such false notions have 
been exploded by the progress of reason and Science. True 


Philosophy has established and proclaimed the principles en- 
grafted into our Declaration of Independence, and the bill of 
rights of the State Constitutions; that the people are not the 
property of the government, but its Creator; that govern- 
ment is instituted by the people for their benefit and happiness; 
that the public officers are created for the advantage of the 
people, that public offices are but trustees and servants, not 
the masters, of the people. 

Government is a moral science, and best understood by re- 
solving it into its constituent elements and examining the 
component parts, their proper relations, duties and de- 

Cities, states and nations are composed of families; and 
families are composed of individuals. The elements of a 
family are the husband, the wife, the children and the ser- 
vants. The comfortable subsistence and happiness of a fa- 
mily, require subordination, order, and distribution of the 
parts which each is capable and fitted to perform in relation 
to the end. This is good management or economy. As the 
government of a city includes many families, order, distribu- 
tion of the parts, subordination and economy are necessary 
to the comfortable subsistence and general welfare, which is 
the end and aim for w r hich government is instituted. In this 
association of families under political government, the laborer, 
and the philosopher, the artificer and the merchant, the mus- 
cular action, and the mental action, are all necessary, mutually 
acting and re-acting upon the several parts; and by good or 
ill management produce happiness or misery, stability or dis- 
solution. The rich and the poor must perform their respec- 
tive parts. Neither wealth, nor power, can dissolve the mu- 
tual dependence, moral duties and obligations which nature 
has ordained and established between man and his fellow-man. 
"Let not ambition mock their useful toils 
"Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; 
"Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile, 
"The short but simple annals of the poor." 

The rich to-day may be poor to-morrow. The poor by in- 
dustry and frugality may become rich. The proud mav be 



afflicted by disease, or unforeseen casualty. No family knows 
how soon the social duties and kind offices of the fireman, the 
nurse, the physician, or the sexton may be in requisition, 

Solomon, who inherited forty-six thousand tons weight of 
silver and of gold, with vast materials of value for building 
the temple, together with a kingdom of great wealth and 
power; the wise, the favored of God, was not exempted by 
all these from the general laws of nature. He became en- 
feebled and dependent upon his felldw-men to seat him upon 
his throne. 

The mighty Caesar, the orator and the historian, the con- 
queror of his country's enemies, and of his country's liberty; 
who did bestride the world as a Colossus, had a fever when in 

"Tis true, this God did shake — 
"His coward lips did from their color fly, 
"And that same eye whose bend did awe the world 
"Did loose his lustre: I did hear him groan: 
"Ay, and that tongue of his that bade the Romans 
"Mark him, and write his speeches in tl.eir Looks 
"Alas! it cried, give me some drink Titinius, 
"As a sick girl.** 

Let no man presume upon his wealth or his power to hold 
himself independent of his fellow men, nor treat unmercifully, 
a bold peasantry, their country's pride. The abuse of great- 
ness is when it disjoins m-erey from power. 

A city or community is deeply interested in the due per- 
formance, by all its members, of their respective parts. The 
honest cobler who performs his duty faithfully, is more "worthy 
in the eye of reason, than the selfish politician who sacrifices 
his country's good to his own sinister purposes, or in the ser- 
vile obedience to the discipline of party jugglers; and far more 
worthy than the partial or corrupt judge. 

"Honor and shame from no condition rise, 
"Act well your part, there all the honor lies." 

Governments have their moral tendencies and their evil 
tendencies. The latter are to be particularly watched and 
fenced against. 


In republic?:, the evil tendencies are visible sooner or later, 
according to circumstances. A superabundance of productive 
industry, upon which an active commercial state of society is 
founded, has a tendency to divide society into three classes, 
first, men of great wealth, secondly, men of abject poverty, 
thirdly, men enjoying a happy mediocrity between these two 

Great wealth, like excess of strength, if not controlled by 
intellectual and moral cultivation, disdains the dictates of 
propriety, and the authority of reason, and produces inso- 
lence; abject poverty, if not under the control of intellect 
and morals, like excessive weakness and deformity, sours the 
temper and begets baseness. Insolence and baseness are the 
ordinary sources of disorders in the body politic: the one run- 
ning into every species of audacious guilt in indulgence of the 
animal passions, the other sinking into every kind of fraud 
and low mischief. In such a state of population the security 
of the community consists id having a sufficient number of 
men, whose condition and morals, render them averse to 
wrong and injustice; so that they may prove too powerful 
for either of the extremes, or for both combined. When 
this intermediate class, which balances and regulates the ma- 
chinery of government, either does not exist in sufficient 
number, or existing, is deceived by demagogues, an outra- 
geous democracy takes place; an irresponsible government 
by the physical force of numbers, the oppressors of virtue, 
and munificent rewarders of vice, the confiscatory and plun- 
derers of property and vested rights; constituting in all 
"that worst of tyrants an usurping crowd." The established 
magistracy and every regular function of the constitutional 
government becomes enfeebled, perverted or abolished; the 
men who have effected the change become masters of the 
commonwealth, "until this brutal force is overwhelmed in its 
own fury." 

To this evil tendency the city of Louisville is liable in a 
very eminent degree, because of her local position, the natu- 
ral advantage which she possesses for extended and profita- 
ble commerce, now well grown and increasing; because of 


(he present large population compressed within her limits, 
hereafter to be greatly increased in numbers and density, as 
well stationary as sojourners and itinerants, boatsmen, deck 
passengers, and idlers without means, who from laziness, bad 
habits, and poverty, are to be subsisted, honestly or dishonest- 
ly, upon the property and industry of the resident population. 
Let us profit by the experience which history has afforded at 
so cheap a rate to us, and applying that wisdom to the circum- 
stances in which we are placed, avoid the catastrophe to 
which the evil, if not guarded, inevitably tends. 

Other evil tendencies of a republic there are, which need 
not be particularly recited at this time, because they, in com- 
mon with those recited, spring from one common cause and 
require, the same remedy. 

The primary cause of the diseases of the body politic is in 
the loose indulgence of the animal appetites and passions, to 
the great neglect of intellectual and moral cultivation. 

Man as an animal has appetites and .passions in common 
with other animals:' but being endowed with superior intellect 
and capacities, he is capable of being the best or the worst of 
animals. Softened by the offices aad duties of social life; 
tamed and subdued by intellectual cultivation and sound mor- 
als, to the dictates of justice and virtue, he is the noblest; but 
rude and undisciplined he is the very worst of animals. Armed 
with intellect, craft, courage, and superior means, if un sub- 
jected to morality and to justice, man will wickedly pervert 
his superior means, and become cruel and abominably shame- 
less in the indulgence of his appetites and passions and the 
most impious of monsters. For what is more detestable than 
armed cruelty, immorality, and injustice. But justice and 
morality are the foundations of political society, and especial- 
ly of a republic. Laws are instituted to declare what is just, 
and it is the duty of government to provide effectually all 
proper means to have the laws obeyed and executed. 

Ignorance, animal appetites and passions are the poisons; 
the remedies consist in intellectual cultivation; in knowledge, 
science, and morals; so that the body politic be subjected to 
the government of reason, to the judgment of mind, to the 


dictates of virtue. The purest happiness is the reward 
of a virtuous life. 

According to the rule prescribed by that intellectual moral 
essence who created man and compounded him of matter and 
mind, it is the province of mind to command, and the prov- 
ince of matter to obey. Such is the order and economy 
of the constitution of man, necessary to be observed by all 
men .who desire to excel other animals, and not, like them, to 
spend their lives "prona et ventri obedientia," ("prone and 
obedient to appetite.") If some men so act as that the body 
seems to command the soul, such have perverted the order of 
nature and are grossly depraved. For such perversion and 
disobedience, nature has inflicted the sting of disease, disgrace 
and misery. An individual man may be considered as a little 
community, consisting of his mind and the various members 
of his body. The proper health and happiness of this little 
community, depends greatly on the observance of this law of 
nature, that mind shall govern matter, that all the parts and 
members iof the body shall perform their proper functions in 
due subordination to the sway of reason. But should the 
subordinate parts of the body rebel, usurp authority, impeach 
and dethrone reason, the order of nature would be subverted, 
and this little community of a human body would fall into 
disorder, disease and ruin. 

So the greater community of a city, or a state, being a col- 
lection of individuals associated under a political government, 
instituted with intent to. provide for the good order and gen- 
eral welfare of all the members of the community, the same 
ordinance and law of nature, requires that mind shall gov- 
ern; that the administration of the constitution and laws shall 
be committed to public officers ol intelligence and virtue. 
Men ignorant, licentious and knavish can'no more accomplish 
the proper end and aim of a government instituted to estab- 
lish justice and promote the general welfare,- than the happi- 
ness of a single individual could be accomplished, were he to 
surrender his soul to be commanded by the gross and blind 
appetites of his body. 

As in our government the great body of the members of 
the communityi participate in the elections, and through 


them, mediately, in legislation, in appointments to all public 
officers; as from the body of the people, all these officers are 
to be elected and appointed, it is of the very first importance 
that the great body of the people should be educated, so that 
they may perform their parts wisely at elections, by choosing 
those best qualified, and so that the community may be sup- 
plied with a sufficient number of men, worthy by their intel- 
ligence, virtue and fitness to fill the public offices. 

In politics, we ought to begin by operating on the intel- 
lectual faculties of man, on his moral powers, on his mind. 
Youth is the season for subduing the animal to proper discip- 
line; to cultivate the mind, to inculcate virtue, to establish 
good habits. "Just as the twig is bent the tree inclines." 
"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is 
old he will not depart therefrom." 

A republican government is founded on the principles, that 
the people are capable of understanding their rights and du- 
ties; that they have virtue to support and maintain them; that 
they are capable, through the medium of representation, to 
govern themselves. Such a government cannot exist, use- 
fully, and permanently, unless supported by intelligence and 
virtue in the general mass of its citizens. History abounds 
with examples of popular governments which were compara- 
tively ephemeral, for want of sufficient intelligence and virtue 
in the people. We need go no further than to the broken 
fragments of the republics attempted in Mexico and South 
America now groaning "under the miseries of ignorance 
and misrule. Demosthenes, interrogated as to the first, se- 
cond and third requisites of an orator, answered, action; 
action; action. Were I interrogated as to the first, second 
and third requisites for the success of the republic, I would in 
the honest conviction of my judgment, answer, Education; 
Education; virtuous Education. 

A system of education should include schools in small and 
convenient precincts, wherein the rudiments of language, 
arithmetic, mathematics, geography, natural and moral phi- 
losophy and astronomy, could be acquired conveniently by 
every youthi with a University at some proper point, embra- 
cing the whole circle of science. Every government stand* 


in need of men of the first order of intelligence, skilled in 
the laws of nature and of nations, in the rights of peace and 
war, in the comities due between nations, in the great inter- 
course of the human family. 

That which a government stands in need of for its proper 
efficacy and durability, should be provided for by the gov- 
ernment. Kingly governments have provided for the ma- 
chinery of royalty. Oligarchies have provided for the aris- 
tocracy. A mixed government, composed of Kings, Lords 
and Commons takes care to provide for the machinery of 
royalty and the nobility; leaving the Commons to be pen- 
sioned by the prime minister to do the King's service. The 
spirit of such governments is breathed into the enactment 
and construction of the laws. The spirits of the people are 
subdued by habit, fraud, or force to submit. 

A republic should consult her spirit, her elementary princi- 
ples, her machinery and wants; and provide by law for a due 
supply of aliment. Education, virtuous education, alone can 
supply the aliment of a republic. Education can raise the 
genius, mend the heart and make mankind in conscious virtue 

Education, the arts, sciences and morals, can raise a city 
to greatness and renown: can exalt a commonwealth above 
her sister States, and impart blessings to the nations of the 

But the want of moral cultivation; accumulated wealth and 
power used in pride, insolence, and oppression, in gluttony, 
debauchery and animal pleasures; with a corresponding pov- 
erty and baseness of the many, have been the causes of dis- 
content, weakness, bloodshed, convulsion, subjection to a 
grievous yoke, of disorder and dissolution. They have been 
the primary and secondary causes of the destruction of the 
cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim; (Zoar was res- 
pited for a time by the righteousness of Lot;) of Nineveh, 
Palmyra, Babylon, Persepolis, Heliopolis, Thebes, Tyre, and 
Carthage: of the overthrow and dissolution of the Kingdoms 
of Sesostris and Pharoah, of the Roman, Mexican, and Peru- 
vian empires. Such causes proceeding from the want of 



knowledge, science and morals, have subjected nations to 
obscurity and obloquy, characterized them in history under 
the reproachful appellation of Goths, Vandals, the "Dark 
Ages" — the "Barbarians," the "Savage Tribes." 

The history of the rise, progress and downfall of nations, 
the gloomy and crumbled monuments of former opulence and 
splendor, which cities, now desolated, once possessed, ought 
to impress upon the mind these truths: that indulgence of 
animal appetites, to the neglect of mental cultivation and 
virtue, is a perversion of the order of nature, contrary to the 
purposes for which superior intellect was bestowed on man: 
that such perversion of the immutable laws prescribed to mat- 
ter and mind by the creator of all things, have produced and 
will produce in the course of nature, sooner or later, the curse, 
dissolution, and destruction of cities, nations and empires. 

The Legislature of this State by a recent enactment have 
provided out of the public treasury, and by voluntary taxation 
for support of a system of Education in convenient precincts 
throughout the State. The details of the act, the arguments 
urged id support, the votes it received from the representa- 
tives of the people, and its enactment into a law, are circum- 
stances to be hailed, as evidences that the public sentiment is 
awakened to the intrinsic value of Education;, as well as to 
the important bearing which it has upon the order, happiness, 
fame and destiny of this Commonwealth. This source of 
gratulation is heightened also, by the kindred feelings mani- 
fested so eminently to-day, by the citizens of Louisville, and 
of the country, who in number and in heart have hallowed the 
ceremonial of laving the corner stone of the Edifice of the 
Louisville Medical Institute. These are happy presages of a 
new era of mental cultivation in this State, and of the liter- 
ary fame which, by enlarging and perfecting ner institutions, 
Kentucky will superadd to .her chivalrous deeds. 

The ceremonial of laying this corner stone, is connected on 
this day and its annual return, with another grateful, joy-in- 
spiring event. This day is the anniversary of the birth of 
Washington: first in war; first in peace; and first in the hearts 
of his countrymen. His fame is indissolubly connected with 


the war for our independence with the mother country, in re- 
sistance to the injustice and oppression, which an audacious, 
insolent blind ministry attempted to rivet upon the colonies; 
vainly boasting that the war should be prosecuted until the 
colonies were humbled and prostrated at the footstool of the 
British throne. The result proves how blind this ministry 
were to the moral laws of providence; how little they under- 
stood of the patience, perseverance and gigantic energies of a 
people who understood their rights and were in conscious vir- 
tue bold; how little of the genius of Washington, and of the 
moral grandeur to which he would conduct such a people, 
who had chosen him for the general of their armies. 

His fame is united to the establishment and acknowl- 
edgment of our Independence: with the more perfect union of 
the States under our federal constitution. 

His fame is co-extensive with the Earth; more tower- 
ing and durable than monuments of brass or marble; spot- 
less and ever during as virtue. His good deeds live after 
his body is interred. His precepts and example are trea- 
sures to his countrymen and to the whole human family. 
His deeds and those of his compatriots have obtained the 
gratitude of millions, and will obtain the gratitude of millions 
yet unborn. His example stands on high, as a pillar of light, 
to conduct virtuous ambition to true glory, and nations to 
the true temple of liberty. 

The ceremonial of laying this corner stone seems to be an 
opportune occasion for offering some considerations upon the 
importance of such an Institute; the aptitude of the location; 
the effect which the Institute is destined to have on the city of 

The importance of Education in general has already been 
considered. The importance of education in the healing art 
is the subject now to be particularly considered. 

The Science of Medicine considered as a whole, includes — 
1st, Anatomy, or the structure of the human body, in all its 
parts, members, subdivisions and integuments, their connex- 
ions and sympathies — 2nd, Physiology, or the doctrine of the 
constitution of the works of nature — 3rd, Pathology, or the dis* 



tempers, with their differences, causes, and effects, incident to 
the human family— 4th, Surgery, or the art of curing by man- 
ual operation — 5th, the practice of physic, or the treatment of 
the various distempers, to effect the cure — 6th, Chemistry, or 
the process by which the different substances found in mixed 
bodies are separated — and 7th, Materia Medica, or the medi- 
cinal substances, their qualities and virtues, their use, singly, 
or mixed — within these respective spheres, the science of me- 
dicine looks to all wounds, fractures, dislocations; eruptions, 
obstructions and fevers; in short to all maladies external and 
internal, which this mortal coil of man is heir to, their locali- 
ties, causes and remedies. 

This recital alone, it would seem, was enough to make rea- 
sonable beings understand the very great importance of the 
science of medicine; and the deep stake, which families, com- 
munities, and indeed the whole human race, have in being 
assisted, comforted and protected by a competent number of 
man of science and experience in the healing ait. 

From time immemorial science in Medicine was consid- 
ered of very great value, and those who had attained it, 
were held in very high admiration. 

iEsculapius after his death received divine honors, because 
of his skill in the healing art. The ancients attributed his 
parentage and his education in that science, to the gods. His 
dau;hter Hygeia was held in great estimation and after her 
death was venerated as the goddess of health. 

The accounts of the father and the daughter are mixed 
with much fable, but stripped of the fabulous and rightly un- 
derstood, serve to shew that the ancients were deeply im- 
pressed with the importance of skilful prescriptions and good 
nursing to the sick: with the truth that great science in the 
medicinal art could be attained only by education of a very 
high order, was worthy of the highest honors. Yet this sci- 
ence as known in those days, compared with the improve- 
ments in the various departments known at the present day, 
may be said to have been then in its infancy. 

The interesting worth of science in medicine, addresses 
itself to our most important interests, our tenderest affections 


and sympathies: it comes home to our fire-sides. The mo- 
ther bending over her sick child, feels but too keenly its im- 
portance. And whilst anxiously hoping for the success of the 
prescription, the tear starts in her eye, at the suggestion of 
her own imagination, that the discriminating powers of the 
physician may, perhaps, have mistaken the disease or the 

Families have a deep interest that their prop and support 
shall not be snatched from them, and sent to an untimely 
grave by defect in the science of medicine. 

Cities, communities and nations have a very important and 
continuing interest in the services of their useful and distin- 
guished citizens, and that they shall not, in the full tide of 
their usefulness, fall untimely sacrifices to ignorance and em- 
piricism in the healing art. 

Pilgrimages are annually made to surgeons and physicians 
of renown. It ill becomes a city or State to trust alone to 
foreigners, for the protection of interests so dear to them- 
selves and to the whole human family. They owe it as a 
duty to themselves, to benevolence, and to the great human 
family, to contribute their respective co-operations to the ad- 
vancement and dissemination of the lights of medical sci- 
ence and knowledge. 

This science must be wooed and won by study, diligence, 
patient investigation, discrimination and experience: by in- 
terchange of instances, treatments and results, amongst the 
learner 1 in the profession. 

One mind may attain greater science and experience in one 
department, another mind in another department; and so by 
mutual communication, aid and interchange, the best possible 
certainty and perfection in all the departments may be ac- 
complished. No one mind of itself, unassisted, is capable of 
accomplishing such a task. The science is too vast and ex- 
alted, the range too extensive, the facts, results and deduc- 
tions from them, are too various and complicated: the task 
requires the experience of successive generations, each suc- 
cessive generation profiting by the experience of those who 
have preceded. 


Since the great Bacon introduced, (in the seventeenth cen- 
tury) the true method of interpreting nature, and the ad- 
vancement of human knowledge, by the accurate collection 
of facts and instances, and by sound and genuine induction 
from them to discover truth, and so from one discovery 
to others* great progress in truth and human knowledge has 
been made. The science of medicine has profited greatly by 
this inductive method and more particularly in the present 
century. The progress in the science of medicine advancing 
now by the induction of truth and certainty of demonstra- 
tion, from facts, instances, experiments and results, may be 
classed as one of the exact sciences. But much remains yet 
to be effected. New varieties, and even new characters of 
diseases, are making their appearance and marching from 
continent to continent (the Asiatic Choleia for example;) re- 
quiring new experiments and results, to ascertain the speedi- 
est and most effective remedies. The science of medicine is 
infinite, its advances towards perfection are progressive. Infi- 
nite wisdom belongs only to the infinite intellectual first 
cause of all things. Nevertheless it is the duty of man to 
exert his faculties to attain the highest possible reach of hu- 
man knowledge and science, because, in so doing, he the bet- 
ter fulfils the purposes for which he was endowed with supe- 
rior intellectual powers; increases his own happiness; and the 
more resembles, the perfect intellectual moral essence, his 

The Location of a Medical Institute at Louisville is pecu- 
liarly appropriate, justified, and demanded by considerations 
of the highest importance, to the utility and success of the 
Institute, to the city and to humanity. 

Nature has said there shall be a great city at this point; le- 
gislatures have said there may be cities at other places. 

Louisville is situated in the great valley of the Mississippi, 
abounding in the treasures of nature, in the earth and upon 
its surface, and in the bounties which fertility of soil and 
variety of climates offer to the industry of man. It is on the 
fair Ohio at the great rapids or falls of this river, in latitude 
thirty-nine degrees six minutes North. These falls divide 


the navigation of the Ohio into the upper and the lower, as- 
signing the respective divisions to' vessels of d i [ft /e«t ; classes 
and capacities, like the meeting of head and tide waier'in 
other countries, although the division Ljj not so exact ?md im- 
passable in all respects- The Ohio and "its tributary 3tfea"ms, 
in this upper and northern division, wind through various lati- 
tudes, rich vallies, hills and mountains, now settled with an in- 
dustrious population; and yielding by nature and the labors 
of man, a vast supply of surplus materials for exchange and 
commerce. This Northern division is now connected, in the 
interchanges of commerce, by means of canals with the great 
Northern lakes and with the cities of New York and Phila- 
delphia, and with the North Atlantic Ocean. This lower or 
Southern division, by the mouthing of the Ohio into the Mis- 
sissippi which mouths into the Gulf of Mexico, is connected 
in the interchange of commerce with the minerals and other 
treasures of nature and of labor and of art, of the fertile re- 
gions watered by the lower Ohio, the Mississippi and Mis- 
souri, and the other streams falling into the Gulf; with the 
city of New Orleans, with the trade to the West India 
Islands and the whole trade of the South Atlantic, and around 
Cape Horn into the great Pacific Ocean. 

In this vast interchange of surplus productions of these 
two grand divisions of the upper Ohio connected with the 
lakes and the North Atlantic, and the lower Ohio connected 
with the great valley watered by the tributaries of the lower 
Ohio, connected with the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the 
Gulf of Mexico, tiie South Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans; a 
vast amount must pass up and down the Ohio river. This 
break in the river and the navigation, at Louisville, renders it 
an important point of commercial deposite and exchange. 

The city is in the heart of a fertile country; and has a 
great water power for machinery, now but little used, but 
which after times will bring into use because of its greater 
cheapness and security, when compared with steam power. 

These advantages render this city capable of employing a 
very large mercantile, as well as manufacturing, capital, and 
maintaining a great population of merchants, manufacturers, 
commission agents, factories, traders and mechanics. 




The^ resident, population of this city may be now stated 
safe 1 :;/, as being about tHirty thousand, and in rapid increase; 
'fhe sojourning and itinerant population may be estimated as 
equal, r.nuuaHy*. to the resident population; with a great pro- 
fitable commerce^ how carried on and growing with the in- 
crease of population and surplus products of the upper and 
lower countries. 

The employment, capital and commerce corresponding with 
the natural advantages of position and with the population 
stated, are visible, in the flat boats and steam boats in port; at 
the wharfs; commission houses; warehouses; factories; work 
shops; the wholesale and retail stores; the hotels; and board- 
ing houses; in the streets; and in the large amount of money 
daily paid in and out, at the Banks and offices of exchange. 

The sojourning and itinerant population consists of per- 
sons, from various climates, of various pursuits, various habits 
and modes of life, and consequently exhibiting varieties of 
diseases, produced by variety of climates, habits, callings and 

This population stationary and sojourning and itinerant, 
demands, in humanity and good policy, corresponding pro- 
visions for the poor, sick and disabled, in houses, infirmaries 
and hospitals, with the appropriate medical assistance. Such 
establishments exist in this city, and in addition to the State 
hospital, the United States have provided for another, not yet 

These descriptions of populations and establishments, at- 
tracted here by the means of commerce, furnish the essential 
desiderata; subjects, facts, instances, in great variety, treat- 
ments and results, experiments and discoveries; for the ad- 
vancement of the science of medicine according to the induc- 
tive method. Subjects for anatomical dissections, examina- 
tions and demonstrations, are here furnished in abundance, to 
enable the student to perfect himself in anatomy; not only by 
seeing operations performed, but by taking the knife and 
the scalpel into his own hand, and by use to perfect himself 
in anatomy which is the foundation of science in medicine. 
The number of subjects, and the variety of the causes, which 
this city supplies in abundance for living surgery and morbid 


anatomy, give most important advantages for perfection in 
anatomy and surgery, for exactness of demonstration and 

The infirmaries and hospitals exhibiting so many instances 
of disease in such varieties afford means of accurate discrim- 
ination between diseases; the modes of treatment of cases 
similar in some of the circumstances, but yet distinct in char- 
acter, and requiring different treatments. These advantages 
here abounding in such an eminent degree, afford to students 
the advantages of theory and practice combined. 

These causes combined with the facility of coming and 
going, communication to and with other places in the valley 
of the Mississippi, and foreign parts; the climate, the habits 
and character of the resident population, point to this city as 
a most appropriate site for a Medical Institute in the valley of 
the West. 

I pass minor detail for fear of trespassing too long upon the 
patience of the audience. 

One prominent subject of gratulation upon the establish- 
ment of the Medical Institute, has not escaped my attention. 
It grows out of the organization of the Institute and the ad- 
ministration of its affairs and purposes, through the president, 
trustees and faculty. I must pass this subject as delicacy re- 
quires. They did not invite me here to speak their commen- 
dation, in their own ears. Fame, with her trumpet, has pre- 
ceded me in that. 

Of the effects of the Medical Institute upon the city, I shall 
speak, not of the pecuniary advantages (large as they might 
be fairly accounted) but of the moral consequences. 

The establishment of the Louisville Medical Institute is 
justly to be ascribed to the city. No endowment from the 
State, nor other quarter, than from the city, has been 

This corporation has munificently contributed from its re- 
sources to found and endow this Medical Institute. 

The establishment is interesting to humanity. The virtu- 
ous fame achieved by the establishment of such an Institute, 
with such liberality of endowment, is worthy of the ambition 


of a commonwealth. It is a monument of the philanthropy 
and public spirit of the city, which neither the destroying 
hand of time, nor envy, nor the ruthless force of war can de- 
face. History, the remembrancer of exalted deeds, will write 
it in her imperishable record: and the gratitude of generation 
after generation, relieved, cheered, comforted, protected, and 
enlightened, by the beams of science radiating from the Lou- 
isville Medical Institute, will attest, at home and abroad, the 
benefits which have been conferred on the human family by 
the generous munificence of the founder. 

This Literary establishment founded and endowed for pur- 
poses so humane and beneficial to the human family, has a 
natural tendency to elevate the character of the city at home 
and abroad. It has the moral tendency to inspire her citi- 
zens with a purer zeal in her behalf, with a delectable heart- 
felt satisfaction and commendable self-respect in calling them- 
selves her citizens. For the truth of these propositions, I 
appeal to history, to the workings of the human heart in 
every age, in every clime, and to the sensibilities of every 
proud heart who loves his country. 

Cities and nations being composed of individuals, the char- 
acter of the city or nation is formed by the actings and doings 
of the individuals composing the city or nation. The public 
institutions of the country are good or bad, liberal or grovel- 
ling, according to the intellectual cultivation of the individuals, 
who, composing the city or nation, formed those institutions. 
The intelligence, characters and spirit of the citizens of a city, 
or State, impress themselves upon the institutions, public 
buildings and public establishments. These are visible signs 
and traits by which cities and nations acquire character, fame, 
or disgrace, just as the actions of individuals give them fame 
or disgrace. The character of a city or State is reflected from 
the liberality of her establishments and institutions, and pub- 
lic edifices, and the illustrious characters of her citizens, com- 
bined into one whole. 

Punic faith is a sarcastic reproach stamped upon Carthage 
for bad faith and treachery. Beotia was characterized by 
dullness. Athens for the polish of literature and the fine arts. 

The cities of Greece and of Imperial Rome by their mental 
cultivation, embodied in their buildings, institutions, models of 
the fine arts, in the works of their poets, historians, orators 
and philosophers, have acquired a renown which has sur- 
vived the wreck of time and the ravages of war, and promises 
to be imperishable. 

Independent nations acknowledge no superiority; each 
claims for itself an equality. But the world, the public senti- 
ment, the judgment of mankind, rank them according to the 
intelligence, liberality and soul, displayed by their institutions, 
literature, and illustrious men. Accordingly France, Scot- 
land, England and Germany now take the lead in Europe. 
Ireland is acknowledged to be a land of genius and flow of 
soul. But since the annexation to the crown of Great Brit- 
ain, she has been governed as a conquered colony, by a spirit 
of political and Hierarchical injustice, oppression and mo- 
nopoly. Her character now is to be seen solely in the indi- 
vidual characters of her illustrious men. But moral causes 
are at work. The immutable laws of nature are operating. 
Injustice and oppression, sooner or later, will work their own 
destruction. The noble spirits of Grattan, Fitzgerald, Em- 
met, and of the united Irishmen have not departed from Ire- 
land: they yet animate the sons of Erin: they will snatch the 
sceptre from tyrants. Ireland will yet stand amongst the in- 
dependent nations of the earth, redeemed and regenerated, 
shining in the moral grandeur of the genius, enterprise and 
natural advantages of the Emerald Isle. 

Virginia prides herself on her colleges and universities; 
upon a long list of her illustrious men; and will not suffer the 
bones of Washington to be removed from her soil, to be placed 
in the Capitol of the United States. 

Franklin, by the part he sustained in relation to the inde- 
pendence of the United States, and by his philosophical dis- 
coveries; particularly in demonstrating the identity of light- 
ning and electricity, so that his points and conductors have 
added safety to ships at sea, and houses on land from the dan* 
gers of lightning, has added renown to his country, and 
elicited from foreigners, a medal, with the inscription: 


**Eripuit coelo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis," ("He snatched 
from heaven the thunder, and the sceptre from tyrants.") 

In illustration of the position, that public institutions and 
illustrious men reflect fame upon cities, states and nations; I 
might call the roll of the signers of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence; I might go through the States, and point to public 
establishments and public men, dead and living, of whom their 
respective countrymen are justly proud; because the charac- 
ter and fame of the State which produced them is elevated in 
the estimation of mankind. 

But the immortal genius of Fulton ought not to be passed 
in silence on this occasion. His successful application of the 
power of Steam to the propelling of vessels, has conferred 
incalculable benefits on mankind, and added lustre and renown 
to his country. His genius has, comparatively, annihilated 
distance on the Western waters. It has developed the natural 
advantages of Louisville, and given an impulse to her com- 
merce, which, under proper direction will be the means of ac- 
cumulating immense wealth and great moral power. 

This theme of the glory of cities and of nations, is fruitful 
in examples, and instructive as to the true sources of glory 
and permanency. 

The city of Geneva with a population not greater than 
Louisville, surrounded by the mountains of Switzerland, has, 
by her schools and universities, by the impress pf mind and 
morals, secured riches, good order, and happiness, to her citi- 
zens; attracted foreigners in numbers to her university; edu- 
cates annually about one thousand in the higher departments 
of science, and has spread her fame far and wide. The United 
States received from Geneva that distinguished citizen Albert 
Gallatin, who so ably and so long administered the depart- 
ment of the Treasury in the times of the presidents, Jeffer- 
son and Madison. 

The Medical Institute of Paris is annually crowded with 
foreigners, not excepting citizens of the United States. 

So far as the fame of this city is concerned, the Medical 
Institute cannot fail to add grace, beauty, and moral grandeur; 
subjects well understood by Mr, Jefferson, in devoting his 


life, after retiring from the Presidency of the U. S., to the 
building, organizing, and establishing the University of Vir- 
ginia, located at Charlottesville. 

Patriotism is natural to the human heart. It begins at 
home, looks to the scenery and circumstances immediately 
around us. It does not, however, consist solely of attach- 
ment to the place which gave us birth, to the theatre of boy- 
ish sports and pleasures: it takes a more elevated view; it 
looks to the institutions and establishments which have cher- 
ished and protected us; to the fame and distinction, which the 
monuments of literature and of public spirit, which the say- 
ings and doings of illustrious men, have won for the commu- 
nity. These are public property in which each individual 
feels that he has a communion. Such monuments of litera- 
ture, good name and fame, impress upon the heart a refined 
patriotism, a holy glow, a delectable moral feeling for the 
place of our residence; not fully known to the individual him- 
self, until journeying into another community, he shall hear 
his country, the community of his abode, commended or 

I repeat that the establishment of the Louisville Medical 
Institute has the moral effect to elevate the character of the 
city abroad, and to impress upon its citizens a purer and more 
delectable feeling in her behalf. 

Another source of moral power to the city derived from 
this Institute is not to be overlooked. A number of medical 
students attracted here from other parts, must bring with 
them, necessarily, information and literary attainments, pre- 
paratory to the study of medicine, not solely useful in that 
department of science. These, associating with families in 
the city, forming friendships, holding communications, and 
emitting rays of intellect, must have great influence and ef- 
fect in introducing a taste for learning; making an impression, 
as the drop by often falling, hollows the stone. The public 
lectures in the several departments, the conversations of the 
medical students from abroad and at home, the highly culti- 
vated intellects of the faculty of the Medical Institute, im- 
parting their lights within the bosom of the city, may be com- 


puted as constituting a body of moral power to give impetus 
to the intellectual improvement and moral action of the 

These influences to which I have alluded cannot fail, in the 
aggregate, to elevate the character of this city, in the judg- 
ment of the generous, the humane, and the patriotic, at home 
and abroad. 

Fellow-citizens: I have already alluded to the dangers of 
accumulated wealth, and abject poverty compressed into a 
dense mass, to which Louisville by reason of the advantages 
of her position, her great and increasing commerce and popu- 
lation, stationary, sojourning and itinerant, is eminently ex- 
posed. Nature operating by general laws prescribed to mat- 
ter and mind, and not by partial laws, whilst giving to you 
the great advantages of local position, ha? likewise exposed 
you to the dangers to which these temptations may lead. But 
nature's God in perfect benevolence and moral excellence, 
hath placed the preventive within your reach. Ignorance, 
lust of riches, loose indulgence of animal appetites, and ab- 
ject poverty, in two classes, are the poisons. The cultivation 
of science, knowledge, and morals, are the remedies. Great 
wealth, great poverty, and a large population densely com- 
pressed within the city, but divided into the two classes will 
come, from the nature and advantages of 3'our local position. 
But it is in the power of prudence and forecast, to ensure a 
class ^composed of men of knowledge, science, and morals 
sufficient in number, to execute the laws, maintain a sound, 
moral public sentiment, to overpower ignorant, audacious, 
insolent wealth, or crafty, fraudulent, ignorant poverty, or 
both extremes combined. Mental cultivation, humanity, mo- 
rals, science, knowledge, justice and the benevolent affec- 
tions, are the regulators and preservers. The ways of virtue 
lead to everlasting happiness. The ways of vice lead to 
misery and destruction. 

The bane and antidote are both before you. 

Men are too apt to forget, in prosperity the inconstancy of 
fortune, in health the means of preserving it, as well as the 
sympathies and offices of benevolence due to the afflicted. 


But a government is bound in benevolence and sacred duty 
to the community and the general welfare, to look to the fu- 
ture, to take all prudent precautions against distempers, en- 
demical, contagious and infectious, whether incident to the 
body natural, or to the body politic. Be warned by the cities 
which once existed in opulence and splendor, but which now 
can be traced only by their mournful ruins, the haunts of 
beasts and birds. 

Let us resolve wisely and do our duty to God, ourselves 
and posterity. Let us resolve for ourselves, let us instill it 
into the minds of our children, that the city as she increases 
in population, commerce and wealth, must enlarge and per- 
fect her establishments for humanity and mental cultivation. 
By such means she may increase to a full orb of intellectual 
lustre, imparting the rays of knowledge, science, morals and 
happiness. The end is attainable by united will, prudence 
and perseverance. The consummation is worthy of generous 
efforts, and of the sublimest ambition. 

May such be the elevated dignity and fair fame of the city 
of Louisville! 

May she, with her Medical Institute, so stand on high as a 
bright example and shining star in the West, until the Sun 
himself shall grow dim with age, and Time shall be no more! 



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